Gender imbalance

samthebear

-sama
Sempai
Across Asian countries inclusive of China, India, South Korea and Singapore* amongst others there has always been a deep-rooted belief that males hold supreme power over females and should a family survive in life and death male heirs must be produced. While this is nothing new, the numbers of 'missing' girls have been rising, and in China it has surpassed the millions. A conservative estimate places aproximately 24 million Chinese men of marrying age without a spouse by 2020 (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences) however previous estimates have put that number between 30 to 50 million.

While the reason for this gender bias exists in deep tradition, newer technologies and techniques have exorbated this problem along side population control legislation (as the one child policy in China). Most of these 'missing' girls are girls who were aborted, killed in infancy or neglected to the point of death.
While one could assume that the less educated or less wealthy a family was, the stronger the bias would tend toward males - however this has not been the case. In India (to my best knowledge does not have a population control legislation) it is noticed that gender bias towards males are more prevalent in richer, more well off families. Education and wealth thus does not seem to be the solution to the removal of gender bias as once thought. However, in wealthier families, the overall family unit is smaller than that found in rural areas so the same pressures on a woman in a well off family is the same as a woman in a poor family. The only thing is that she has a smaller family and so pressure to have a son is greater.
(Anaolgy: you can keep flipping a coin for a head and the laws of probability dictate that you will get a head if you flip to infinity. But if you have a restriction and must get a head in three flips the pressure is on - even if you have to cheat and bias the coin.)
While this socio-economic pressure is not seen in China - the same restriction applies as dictated by the one child policy. However it seems that while the gender imbalance is still skewed in cities it is not as sever as in some provinces, which could point to education and wealth playing a part in lightening the gender bias. It has to be noted that there are exemptions from the one child policy and while some may argue that the gender imbalance does not exist in the eldest children, there is definately a more sever gender imbalance bias towards males in subsequent births.

This is not an abortion debate, if you are looking for the abortion debate it is not in this thread. What i am looking for is a discussion about the millions of missing girls and the implications that has on the future. The immediate consequence is obvious: less women = less families = less children but what about further consequences? not just to the nation but to the world. Surely it is a dire situation that needs rectifying but how if such gender bias exists so deeply entrenched in supersition and cultural norms?

*even asian migrant populations in westernised countries experience the 'missing girls' syndrome too.

Last word:
my parents once told me, "When we wanted a family, we never hoped for a boy or a girl. we just hoped for a healthy child."

Articles of interest:
With 1-child policy, China 'missing girls'
China faces growing gender imbalance
The Daughter Deficit
China's gender imbalance 'likely to get worse'
China grapples with legacy of its 'missing girls'
Gender Imbalance in India
 

warita200

Tai Youkai
Sempai
WOW, I am writing a paper on EXACTLY this subject for a course I am taking. Thanks for the articles, I am definately going to use them.
biggrin.gif
 

daft27

-nya
Retired
QUOTE (warita200 @ Jun 15 2010, 07:59 AM) WOW, I am writing a paper on EXACTLY this subject for a course I am taking. Thanks for the articles, I am definately going to use them.
biggrin.gif

The Economist also covered this topic in one of their May issues. I can probably send you a copy of it if you need it ( http://www.economist.com/node/15636231 ).

QUOTE Gendercide
The worldwide war on baby girls
Technology, declining fertility and ancient prejudice are combining to unbalance societies
 

Noshi

-sama
Retired
It's very sad, in China there have been abductions/kidnaps of young girls because of the lack of other available girls to marry their sons.
In addition to the abortions, it's gotten more popular to choose for IVF treatments to be able to get pregnant of a boy right away.
If only education and money would make a difference in the gender imbalance, but most girls become housewives once they get married anyways so they don't earn (as much) money to take care of their old parents.

If I remember right, in India people prefer a boy mainly also because when a girl marries a guy, the family of the girl will have to pay for the wedding and the wedding gift.
 

wedora

-dono
Sempai
I think the biggest thing is pointing out the problem and addressing it. These beleifs are indoctrinated into children at a young age, similar to religion, and becomes a foundation for their way of thinking. When that happens it is almost impossible to change people's ways once they've confirmed that as part of their identity entering adulthood. Teaching equality and fairness in schools at a young age may help these kids challenge their parent's beleifs as they get older.

This is not an issue that can be addressed overnight, but something that will lessen over generational gaps if addressed properly. I think good examples indicating how long this type of change takes are women's rights in the US and segregation/racism in the US. Kids born now rarely see it as an issue and the impact has lessened over the last few generations, but talk to someone in their 60's or older and you'll find much more obvious cases of deep-seeded racism. This specific topic is linked very closely to women's rights and women's economic equality so maybe those topics should be addressed in the cultures/contries in question.

This is an outside-looking-in view from a white male living in the eastern US (very low asian population), so its definitely as far from the issue as you can get. Even though I don't see it first-hand, I see similarities with other cultural issues here that are slowly being resolved over time.
 

samthebear

-sama
Sempai
Its not really the problem of addressing the issue of gender imbalance (since discussing that would just lead to a continuous circular argument which would go no where), its really about the current problem of those missing girls. Already it is seen that there are millions of missing girls in proportion to males, the implications of that is already in motion and while the effects are not yet felt (since these boys are only in their early 20s at best) it will be in another 5 to 10 years. What then? Already human trafficking and kidnapping of children and women have increased to fill the demand for women - how is the world going to respond to this?

There is no point in blaming hierarchical patriarchal society on the devaluation of females, to mitigate centuries of deep bias is just about impossible - that time has gone and pass, so if that is not what can be done right now then what can? Will females have to be pressured and devalued more as the demand for females go up before things resume to an equilibrium?
wedora, you do have a point about pointing out the problem and addressing it but with so many people still culturally opposed to the idea of having girls it would have to take nothing sort of a miracle to change that view point on a nation-wide scale. Now China has taken measures to equal out its male to female ratio but what they have suggested ranges from financial incentives to the permission of more than one daughter. While this is a positive step, it seems to stink of proactive steps to ensure men continue to have wives and children. (to put it in another way: we're encouraging female births and less discrimination towards girls so that men can benefit)
Even in steps towards ensuring a more even population, the desire to put the needs of men first are there. How can this thinking be changed if even education and wealth does not help? On the contrary i think it might even make the issue worse - more resources available means that more resources will be put towards the sons in the family - effectively widening the equality gap between males and females.

warita200, you might find the book "Message from an unknown Chinese mother" by xinran helpful for your paper. It covers personal stories of how this gender imbalance came to be.
 

warita200

Tai Youkai
Sempai
Well, one time I have seen a documentary on TV about India and gendercide. When a boy is born, the family celebrates, women from the village gather and throw a baby party and even bring small gifts for the mother and her baby. As you can imagine, none of that happens when a girl is born.
However there are some innitiatives to reverse this. That is done by educating the women about the importance of girls and to show a girl has the same value as a boy, in some villages women celebrate the birth of a girl the same way as a boy. It is a small step, but an important one I believe. Because just as wedore pointed out, the problem is deeply rooted in the believes of people. When children grow up, they subconsciously learn by observing the world around them and when they see how little importance the birth of a baby girl has, they learn that women have no value and they pass this attitude onto their own children as well.

What really bothers me about this though is, that it also the women themselves, who believe they have no value. I cannot imagine that if the situation was the other way around (aka men are considered something less) that men would silently accept this lot. Why dont the women stand up for their rights and fight back?
 

chiisai_hana

-nipah!
Retired
QUOTE (samthebear @ Jun 15 2010, 06:55 AM)The immediate consequence is obvious: less women = less families = less children but what about further consequences? not just to the nation but to the world. Surely it is a dire situation that needs rectifying but how if such gender bias exists so deeply entrenched in supersition and cultural norms?
Just to throw out a counter-argument - if you buy into theories that the world is overpopulated, it's not necessary a negative consequence that there will be less families. These countries have huge populations, so this may be an unintentional benefit.

However, I do agree that the mentality behind issues of female infanticide is something that should be dealt with. iirc, there is improvement in westernized-urban China and many people are now equally happy with a female as a male child. Perhaps this is partly the influence of Communist ideology, which stressed that females should be part of the workforce, literate, etc compared to older traditional views of women.

And is part of the problem in India not religious beliefs? I seem to recall learning that in (Hindu, I think) funeral practices a son must perform certain rituals. Therefore, it is extra-important to have a male child.
 

Dalriada

-dono
Sempai
QUOTE Just to throw out a counter-argument - if you buy into theories that the world is overpopulated, it's not necessary a negative consequence that there will be less families. These countries have huge populations, so this may be an unintentional benefit.

The drawback is that a decrease of the birth rate will make the population older, which can be a problem (look Japan for example, and less strongly most of Western Europe, although the strong immigration makes things a bit better).
 

R. asuka

-chan
Kouhai
^Yeah but that would benifit the younger generation since there'll be more job opportunities for them since the majority of people are already old.

I'd honestly like more space around the world for Us and for nature.

I'd like for my country to reduce it's 90+million people since it's crowded over there.

if we aren't as populated then there'd be more resources for everyone to go around,we wouldn't have to scramble to go out to other countries.

well that's what I think anyway.
ph34r.gif
 

Dalriada

-dono
Sempai
QUOTE (R. asuka @ Jun 18 2010, 07:28 AM) ^Yeah but that would benifit the younger generation since there'll be more job opportunities for them since the majority of people are already old.

But it put a greater strain on the society, because someone must take care of those elders, and they have often a worse (i.e. more expensive) health than the average.

Except if you let those old people wither and die without care, but it's not an option for me.


As for the decrease of population... not gonna happen (except in very specific places... Japan ?)
 

R. asuka

-chan
Kouhai
^Europe Also.
but overseas workers will fill in so no problem there. (except racism)
as for population decrease I think it will happen but slowly as countries get richer hopefully they'll lay off on reproducing and more on vacationing golfing etc. XD
 

chiisai_hana

-nipah!
Retired
QUOTE (Dalriada @ Jun 17 2010, 12:31 AM)
The drawback is that a decrease of the birth rate will make the population older, which can be a problem (look Japan for example, and less strongly most of Western Europe, although the strong immigration makes things a bit better).
Either way we have a problem. Popping out more children isn't going to solve anything - children are equally expensive and a huge resource drain. Plus they will not be old enough quick enough to take care of the baby-boomers. I believe we could properly take care of our elders, if we were able to reform those sectors of society. This may be unique to each country, but in Canada anyway, if we could reform the pension system and allow more eligible people into medical school that would be a huge asset to society and seniors. To take your example of Japan, I'm sure their situation could be improved if they had a better social safety net in society.

Older people -specifically the baby boomers - aren't going to be around forever and eventually populations will stabilize. If we keep allowing our global population to grow at the rate it's going however, I think we'll have much bigger problems.
 
Playasia - Play-Asia.com: Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more
Top